Transcript of Speaker Pelosi’s Remarks at San Francisco Press Event on Women’s Equality Day
San Francisco – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Mayor London Breed and other San Francisco leaders in front of City Hall to celebrate Women’s Equality Day. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Carmen. I accept your kind words on behalf of the House Democrats, who have the courage to elect a woman Speaker of the House.
I’ve seen Carmen, and with every challenge, you rise up in the ranks from one position to another. Thank you for your great leadership as well. It's an honor to be here with you, and the Mayor, Malia Cohen and Supervisor Stefani, who represents the district I live in here. Kimberly Ellis, Alison Goh and, of course, Carmen Chu. It's great to be here with you.
I just have two special guests with me today. First, my daughter Christine, who has on her purple and white, which she always wears.
And two of my college roommates from Trinity College, Washington, D.C.: Rita Meyer and Celia Haggerty. And I have one of the – our scarf from the College. Imagine that it was purple and gold, the colors of the suffragettes. Rita and Cecelia, who are with us today. I'm honored they're here to get a taste of San Francisco and how enthusiastic we are about women.
One hundred and one years ago – after fighting, marching, struggling, starving, being starved – women gained the right to vote, won the right to vote. The newspapers at the time said women ‘given’ the right to vote. That could not have been further from the truth. It was a big fight. It was historic, and it was transformative.
Here we are, 101 years later, women in positions of high responsibility. But an attack on the right to vote that is happening in our country. A few days ago, on Tuesday, in the House of Representatives, under the leadership of Terri Sewell, a woman from Selma, Alabama, we passed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
We offset the damage that the courts are doing to the right to vote. And in doing so, we also need the Senate to pass it and to pass H.R. 1, which is legislation to overturn the voter suppression laws that are being enacted across the country – not only to suppress the vote, but to nullify the vote. So, we have important work to do. We have important work to do.
And as Carmen said, we have an election coming up in California in just a couple of weeks, and we must all vote in that election.
Okay, so let's talk about what a difference it makes. People always say to me, ‘How exciting was it to be up there – with Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, and now the Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris –
– standing behind Joe Biden, when he made his speech, when he made his State of the Union, his joint – his message to a Joint Session of Congress?’ Of course, it was exciting with all the pride we take in Vice President Harris, that's for sure.
But what's really important was the speech he made. It wasn't about women standing behind. It was what we were doing for women going forward. And he made a speech that is our fight right now – and as Carmen said, where women have made the difference in supporting a Build Back Better agenda: Build Back Better for Women, Build Back Better for Women, yes. Child care, Child Tax Credit, family and medical leave – paid family and medical leave, universal pre-K, Child Tax Credit. Did I say that again? And again, the list goes on of what he has, has put into his agenda, which is the Biden agenda for women
And this is where women make a difference. We wouldn't have such an aggressive agenda. Rosa DeLauro has been working on these issues for two decades, at least. And some of the other initiatives – we wouldn’t have expanded benefits for Medicare, expanded subsidies for the Affordable Care Act. We will have more benefits, dental, visual and hearing, for people on Medicare.
This is all about empowering women so that their families are cared for, that their children are cared for, so that we can have women in the workplace making the difference. ‘Children learning, families earning – parents earning.’ That's our motto in all of this.
So, all of this is connected to the vote. Think of the – think of the courage it took for the suffragists to reach that goal. It took decades. It took decades. We stand on their shoulders.
As Terri Sewell told us the other day in the debate on the Floor, one of the women, 100 and something years old, who came to a State of the Union Address of President Obama, she said – he said to her, ‘Everyone is standing on his shoulders, your shoulders.’ And she said, ‘Get off my shoulders and do your own work.’
And that is what we are doing here. So, we're very pleased.
People always ask me, ‘What is in the water in San Francisco, that you have so many women leaders coming and representing this area?’ Well, what it is, is our shared values, our commitment to diversity. And I always say, ‘Our diversity is our strength, our unity is our power.’ The unity of women – make change, transform our country. When women succeed, America succeeds.
Thank you all very much. I yield back to Carmen Chu.